Sunday, October 12, 2008

Guest Blogger: J.F. Lewis

The winner of Jeremy's book is -- Ellory! Congrats, Ellory! Send me your snail mail info and I'll pass it along to J. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Why Do My Werewolf's Teeth Keep Falling Out?

When Lynda asked me to guest blog, she said that I could write about anything “educational, interesting or entertaining about anything paranormal” which is why we’ll be talking about werewolf calculus.

No. I’m kidding, we’ll actually be talking about werewolf and vampire dental practices, because -- I mean come on, who doesn’t find odontology fascinating? What? It has to do with writing paranormal fiction; I promise. Just bear with me.

One of the things that has always struck me about vampire fangs is where are they hiding in there? Are there hidden pockets? Do the existing teeth just get longer and more pointy? What? I know. I know. I’m weird, but then again I should be weird right? I write books about vampires, demons, gun slinging ghosts, and evangelical werewolves. But back to the teeth.

Another question that I’ve always had is: Does it hurt? If there are hidden pockets for the fangs, surely it feels a little weird to have the fangs push the other teeth around, right? And if not . . . why not? Vampires in the Void City universe definitely feel it when they pop their fangs. Sure it’s a feeling to which they become accustomed. The older the vampire, the less he or she would notice, but the first time it happens? Yowtch!

Which brings me around to werewolf dentistry.

When I sat down to work up the rules for my little world, I had originally planned to have the transformation from human to werewolf be painful, too, but then I stopped and thought. Since lycanthrope isn’t a curse in my universe, pain wasn't necessarily required. A vampire is something that was human. Sprouting fangs for them is unnatural. Of course it hurts. For a Void City werewolf, making the transformation is akin to getting home after a long day’s work and slipping into something more comfortable. The sharp nasty werewolf teeth push the human teeth out of the way, forcing them out of the mouth completely. The fingernails pop off releasing wolf claws in a process that is indescribably freeing. It feels good.

And it works. It makes sense, which is the writing topic that I'm touching on in my meandering way. The bigger the element of the paranormal in your fiction, the larger the burden becomes. It must make sense. It has to be consistent and you, as the writer, must know how it all works even if the reader doesn't get all of the nuts and bolts up front (or ever). As long as you've given it thought, then you may find that some details don't even have to be explained through exposition. You'll show them instinctively and Showing is almost universally always better than Telling.

JF will be giving away a signed copy of STAKED to one lucky commenter. Just answer this question as a comment: What did you learn from JF's post? The winner will be posted on Tuesday evening.

23 Comments:

Blogger Ellory said...

What a great post. I learned how werewolves in her world would enjoy becoming a werewolf. - Described as "slipping into something more comfortable." I love that description.

4:09 AM  
Blogger Cheryl M. said...

I've often wondered about the whole fang thing myself, and also breath. I mean, wouldn't a vampire or werewolf who snacked on blood or flesh have really awful breath?
And, as far as werewolves go, what happens to their clothes when they change? Some authors explain this, and some don't. It's the attention to the little details that make a good book into great book, and I learned from this post that J.F. definitely pays attention to the little details!

6:38 AM  
OpenID kmcalear said...

I write about vampires, and I never stopped to think about the unique twist it could be to have fangs hurt when they extend. It adds a different dimention to things.

And responding to Cheryl, I was always amused by the authors who have their vamps and weres be mint-addicts. Of course I imagine so long as you brush your teeth, there's no reason for bad breath!

9:08 AM  
Blogger sarabelle said...

Good morning. The fang issue is by far the last thing I think I have ever thought about while reading. Teeth are my least favorite subject, for some odd reason they totally gross me out. I cant even pull my kids loose teeth out, the thought makes me sick. I know I am a weirdo, but now that you brought this to the forefront of my thinking pattern today I have to say I think it would hurt like a @@#$% to have those sharp things protruding at any given time. Even with my little tooth issue I found this article very very interesting and amusing, even though I got the willies. lol :)

9:21 AM  
Blogger Michael Malone said...

I find it interesting that in J.F. Lewis's world, Vampires are cursed but werewolves aren't. Therefore Vampires must feel pain at their "transformation" and werewolves don't. They "slip into something more comfortable." Like the human teeth are high heeled shoes, and getting rid of them is getting rid of the pain.

But seriously, why are vampires cursed? And why are they always either evil or feeling bad about having to eat on humans? One of the things I liked about Eric was his forgetfulness, that he often forgot about being gloomy about being fanged. It was refreshing.

Maybe I should write a vampire novel where the vampire sucks blood, isn't evil and doesn't get all gloomy about his lot in life. Oh wait, then I'd be John Grisham and write about lawyers.

11:32 AM  
Blogger blackroze37 said...

what about the ppl who llost their teeth and wearing dentures? do they get all their teeth back or just the fang part?
and do they still have to brush and floss to not loose the new teeth?

11:47 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Thanks so much for guest blogging, Jeremy! Your post triggered my dental phobia and I've been having flashbacks of nightmare dental appointments! Thanks a lot! LOL.
Lynda

12:04 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

In Jeremy's world, it feels good to transform into a werewolf.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Sherri L. said...

Great topic, J.F.!

I too have struggled with how to represent this aspect in my vampire world I'm creating. I'm glad to see that you feel that it doesn't all have to placed up front, that as long as you show hints to the rules that you don't have to explain EVERYTHING. I also chose to have the first time fangs present themselves that it would be painful and scary to the newbie. :)

12:57 PM  
Blogger ddurance said...

I've learned that the longer you've been a vampire, the less it hurts to pop out those fangs, but I wonder how long it would take before you wouldn't notice the pain at all.

Deidre

2:08 PM  
Blogger Jeremy F. Lewis said...

Glad to hear you all enjoyed the post! :)

Cheryl: Let's just say that unless you're an Alpha werewolf, or are unusually talented at the transformation, it's best to either disrobe first or keep an extra set of clothes handy.

Michael: I guess I did kind of imply that vampirism is a curse, didn't I? Though Eric is cursed, I wouldn't go so far as to say that all other vampires are cursed. Their transformations are painful because they are humans who have become something unnatural and pain is part of the price they pay for the powers they gain.

To answer Blackroze37's question: An interesting thought... I haven't had a vampire with dentures pop up yet, but if a person lost their teeth before becoming a vampire, they wouldn't automatically grow back. They'd gone from toothless to fanged when they fed.

Thanks for having me Lynda! And my apoligies for waking those dental phobias...

2:11 PM  
Blogger quiltingreader said...

It doesn't hurt a werewolf to change form. I always figured that it did.

By the way I love the book cover.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Night critter said...

I can remember when my wisdom teeth came through and it wasn't nice. I agree with you Jeremy, having sharp pointy fangs would hurt.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I've always though that it's got to hurt for those fangs to either slide out or in. I mean, they're supposedly sharp, right, but I guess as you keep doing it, it hurts less.

Still doesn't sound very sanitary.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

I don't think about where fangs are for vampires or when the werewolf changes, what happens to it's parts, so I learned alot, but still won't think about it. :)

4:33 PM  
OpenID Tez said...

J. F. taught me that what I thought was dentistry is actually called odontology. I can is made of smarts now! ;-)

Have a lovely day! :-)

6:38 PM  
Blogger Kimberly B. said...

I learned that, in J. F.'s world, the werewolf teeth push the human ones completely out of the mouth, and the human fingernails pop off to be replaced by claws. It's the last part that has me going "ew ew ew!" Guess I'm more squeamish about nails than teeth!

6:58 PM  
Blogger Ruth Schaller said...

Wow! some of these things I've never even thought of. I'm currently writing a book about a vampire, but he isn't the main charaacter. He is the hunted.

Your post really makes us think. Should it hurt or shouldn't it, that is the question! LOL

GREAT POST!

6:39 AM  
Blogger tetewa said...

Interesting post that really had me thinking and wondering. Nice to see you here today and love your cover!

1:05 PM  
Blogger flip said...

Hahaha, I remember one book in which the author discussed werewolf breath.


Considering how often I bite my tongue, fangs might be too difficult.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Amy S. said...

Great post! I learned werewolves are more comfortable when they change and it doesn't hurt.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

This is so neat!!! It indeed is educational! I just never thought there would be pain in spouting those fangs! I haven't watched much with TV shows or movies with vamps, but never seen or would think that! But cleverly reading this, I so do! And to know for a werewolf with the nails feels good! This was so neat!! I'm totally excited about this book too!

7:30 PM  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

In the world he creates, changing into a werewolf doesn't hurt.

7:44 AM  

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